A security researcher recently discovered the Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus was collecting incredible amount of detailed data from its smartphone users. This cause a widespread uproar and concerns about the privacy of their users. The company has now responded to the concerns, stating that they will now be scaling back on data collection efforts.
It’s not uncommon to see device makers collect data from their users, but the problem with OnePlus was that it was collecting an alarming amounts of data. The security researcher found that the phones collected “IMEI(s), phone numbers, MAC addresses, mobile network(s) names and IMSI prefixes,” in addition to wireless network identifying numbers, serial numbers, and many other pieces of data.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei in the forum post explained that the company’s devices using OxygenOS “securely transmit analytics in two different streams, usage analytics and device information.” While some data collection is fine, but this amount was alarming. IN addition, Pei said that the company collected this data to improve the phone’s operating system, and users have the option to opt out of the data collection. Mind you, there were two methods of collection, of which you were only able to opt out of one but not the other through the user interface.
Pei, in response to the concerns, also stated that the company will be making improvements to its program going forward, and that the data the collected data was not shared outside the company. In addition, he noted that the company will stop collecting MAC Addresses, WiFi information, and phone numbers of the devices.